I thought this article was pretty interesting; HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL FACULTY SHARE PERSPECTIVES ON HOLIDAY CONSUMER SPENDING "If we start with the big picture, holiday retail spending in 2009 is likely to be flat or marginally better than last year. In 2008, holiday retail sales were $442 billion or about one tenth of total retail sales for the year. While this year is likely to see little or no increase on 2008 holiday sales, the difference, year-over-year, is expected to be much smaller than the 3.4% drop in holiday spending last year-relative to 2007-when consumers pulled back dramatically on all manner of buying in the midst of the financial crisis. On the demand side of the economy, consumers face several headwinds as they embark on their holiday shopping journeys, including uncertainty about jobs, housing values, the availability of credit, and the stock market. Even more important, consumers' attitudes about getting and spending and how they deal with household budgets are undergoing a huge shift, the biggest shift since the end of the Great Depression and World War II. And this change will likely play a role not only this holiday season but for years to come. After the shock and awe of last year's financial crisis, households are taking stock, abandoning the "next new thing" in favor of more enduring priorities, and establishing distinct notions of value from those that have prevailed during the last decade. All of this adds up to the New Normal." Frugality is here to stay.